This trip really is excellent value for money. So much is put into the itinerary that you are left with a definite feeling that you have seen and done a lot in the 2 weeks.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were so many highlights across the 3 countries visited, it's a case of where do you start?
First has to be the gorillas - they were the stars of the trip. Standing watching them for an hour will stay as one of those awe-inspiring moments in life, when you feel very priveleged to be one of a relatively small number of people in the world to have spent time in the company of this endangered species.
Second was watching the annular eclipse from a hill overlooking the white Nile. The setting, just after dawn was breath-taking and thanks to the superb efforts of the tour leader and her team we were all able to view the whole event safely through welding goggles!
Third was the ballon ride over the Masai Mara. This may seem a little pricey as an optional extra but worth every penny, especially if you booked ahead, which was much cheaper than booking on site. The views over the vast area were fantastic.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader, Linda, was probably one of the best I have ever travelled with on the various trips I've been on with different companies. She had just the right balance of humour, knowledge and control of the group. Her experience in this environment really showed and proved invaluable in helping the trip run smoothly without getting the feeling that you were being herded.
Chris the co-driver was also excellent and was the perfect balance to Linda. His knowledge and quiet competence was impressive.
Finally Humphrey the cook ........ what can I say?! He had only recently started working in this environment, having been a chef in 5 star hotels previously. What he could make cooking on charcoal was unbelievable! (don't expect to lose any weight on these trips!)
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
1. Read the trip notes - they are very accurate. Most of the things that caught people in the group out was, by their own admission, because they missed it in the trip notes.
2. Don't worry about getting visas before leaving. It is straightforward at each border and done collectively within the group whenever possible so saving time.
3. Bring spare batteries for cameras. Although there are re-charging facilities on the truck, by mid-way through there is often a queue to recharge so having a couple of spare batteries meant I didn't have to worry about timing.
4. Take at least one spare torch - you can't manage without one so a spare is essential.
5. You will need warm clothes for the nights, especially in Rwanda and Uganda as often at altitude, as well as for the back of the truck as it gets pretty drafty when all the windows are open.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
Be prepared for a couple of very long days on the truck. It's not a chore when you are driving through such fantastic scenery but to cover the miles we did, to see so much, the pay off is a few full days travelling. The roads are not tarmacked for much of it so the ride can be bumpy but stick with it because it's well worth it!
It may well be a full service camping experience but if you help them out a little, the tour staff have more time to chat to everyone about where you are. They don't expect it but I think it makes all the difference to the experience for the whole group.
If you like beer you will be fine as prices are reasonable in all 3 countries, even at tourist rates. The ones who didn't drink beer struggled sometimes as wine was either expensive and/or not fantastic and shorts were more pricey in places.
On the important, less glamorous side - they warn you that facilities can be basic in places - so bring your own toilet paper! However, I was expecting worse and was pleasantly surprised. We only had one campsite on the whole trip that was a long drop and there were showers in more places than I thought there was going to be.